Photo by Tonya ArmbrusterI am very excited to introduce this next lady, Perle Noire. Based in the United States this international performer is incredible! I’m a big fan and hope you love reading this very special interview!
Perle Noire, labeled "Feminine Phenomenon" is truly meant to be on stage. Her amazing stage presence, classic style, seductive movers, and flawless choreography has granted her standing ovations whenever and wherever she performs.
Described by many as the “reincarnation of Josephine Baker”, Perle, also known as the “Black Pearl”, is one of the most exotically unique and sought after burlesques Queens today. With both a national and international following, Perle’s incredible mix of raw sex, pure elegance, combined with a slow and sensual movement creates a wave of energy that flows across the room.
“I saw her performance on a video, and I immediately wanted to have her be a part of the show.” - Dita Von Teese, on her first impression of Perle Noire.
Perle Noire’s unique and dynamic style has earned her a covenant spot with Dita Von Teese’s Strip Strip Hooray Tour and numerous awards from the Burlesque Hall of Fame Miss Exotic World Competition which include, Best Debut Performer (2008), 2nd Runner-Up Overall Performance (2009) and Most Dazzling Performer (2012). Perle was honored yet again as being crowned the first ever Queen of Burlesque at the New Orleans Burlesque Festival 2009. Perle is also one of the Top 5 Burlesque Performers Worldwide.
Perle has appeared on national televisions programs like, MTV’S MY SUPER SWEET 16 AND THE TRAVEL CHANNELS EXTREME COMPETITION, as well as the DVD BURLESQUE UNDRESSED. A lover of the timeless burlesque style, Perle has featured in countless interviews, including PINCURL MAGAZINE, THE L.A.TIMES.COM, BURLESQUESEATLLE.COM, 21STCENTURYBURLESQUE.COM & THETIMESPICAYUNNE.COMFrom London to Paris, Australia to Spain, New York to Los Angeles, Perle has performed her high-energy acts all over the world. She is, “THE EXOTIC MYSTERE OF BURLESQUE”
Photo by Tonya Armbruster
Where is your favourite country to perform and why?
I have to profess that Tokyo has been the most decadent & exquisite experience to date. Since I can remember, I've had an endearment for Japanese culture (especially Geishas), so I was elated when I received confirmation that along with performing and teaching a dance workshop, I would make history by becoming the first American to headline a burlesque show in Tokyo! Tokyo was breath-taking. For a moment, I felt as if I were granted access to a child's dream. Imagine a world so opulent and enchanting; a place similar to Wonderland (minus the drugs and sex) with living caricatures. As luck would have it, while I was praying at one of the many serene temples, I looked up and my eyes witness walking art. I watched two Geishas dance at a wedding ceremony. Yes, Tokyo stole my heart.
Tokyo is so regal and striking. I especially loved walking around the avant garde gardens during the day. The temples and gardens were a reflection of the beautiful people. Violet Eva and Tamayo are the lovelies who invited yours truly to perform in Tokyo. They reminded me of the true southern ladies I grew up with (I was humbled and honoured to be in their graces). The night of the big show was beyond mind boggling. The show was sold out and just like the shows in America; the audience was filled with beautiful women!
It was a very unique experience. To my surprise, instead of an intermission, they had a short interview segment featuring Moi. The audience members were allowed to become familiar with me in an intimate setting before my presentation of burlesque. They asked if I liked their city and about the hurricane (my first scheduled trip was cancelled due to hurricane Issac). I began to cry from the abundance of love that was in the room. All of the women were so kind and they seemed thrilled to have me perform in their city. After my performance, I was showered with money from the women who were in attendance. Thankfully, it wasn't anything similar to some of the impromptu tipping experience in America. I'm offended and baffled when some of the burlesque patrons are so misinformed and starved for culture, that they confuse a burlesque extravaganza for a night out with the boys at a strip or gentleman's club. No, this was a respectful, cultured standing ovation.
Giving me money during and after my performance was a way to show respect & adoration. The women were in awe of my mahogany colour and ample bosom. My workshops were sold out as well. I was proud and overjoyed; especially when each student said she was my number one fan. I made a connection with the city. I met so many kindred spirits and for the first time in my life, I cried upon my departure. I made a spiritual and emotional connection with this heavenly land.
What has it been like working with Dita Von Teese on the Strip Strip Hooray Tour?
Working with the SSH cast and crew has become one of the many highlights of my life. We recently performed at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas and the trip was filled with joyous memories and of course shenanigans. We're a family.
You are on stage and being photographed a lot of the time. Looking after yourself must play a big part in your life. What are you favourite beauty products and why?
I'm a huge fan of the beauty products from the La Mer line and The Body Shop. I love the Body Shop because the ingredients have been community traded from exotic lands such as Ghana, Namibia, and Guatemala. You will see an immense improvement within the first month. The Body Shop products contain a lot of Shea and Coco butter, which has been natures beauty phenomenon for centuries. La Mer has a great reputation due to the quality of their creams. I suggest the La Mer skin care line for all skin types.
Do you have a set beauty routine?
Yes. I exfoliate and take a milk bath once a week to give my skin a natural glow. Each morning, I wash my face with a seaweed facial wash (The Body Shop), rinse with hot water, then minimize my pores with crushed ice and rubbing alcohol. I follow up with a vitamin E illuminating cream (The Body Shop) and La Mer eye cream.
On that note how to you keep yourself in shape for your performances?
I have a gym phobia so to keep in shape I dance and practice my routines every day. It's my meditation and exercise regimen. When I'm preparing for a show or tour, I prefer to eat a lot of brown rice sautéed in olive oil, vegetables, and Worcestershire sauce, along with tilapia or salmon. I also indulge in life's gifts, such as, Lindt chile chocolate, tacos, chips and honey buns. Life is about balance.
What are your 3 must have pieces of make up?
Art Deco lipstick by Dita Von Teese
Morphe 88 color eyeshadow palette
Hip Studio Metallic Duo
What do you like to do with your time off from being Perle Noire?
Connecting with my loved ones in extremely important to me. I'm constantly traveling, which is glorious, but it is a life of solitude. When I'm home I love to connect with the people I love. It's my favourite pass time when I have time off.
Who is your favourite burlesque performer to watch?
I’m proud to say that one of my favourite performers to watch is a living legend and my dear friend, the elegant, Toni Elling.
Toni Elling was born and bred in Detroit. In 1960, she became a stripper- at the age of 32. Toni Elling is her stage name and she describes herself as Duke Ellington’s protégé – her stage name obviously derived from his and she refers to him as a great friend; Ellington told her he composed Satin Doll with her in mind.
Born Rosita Simms, the 84-year-old hobnobbed with some of the top celebrities of her day, but despite many unsavory proposals observed a strict code of ethics off the stage.
She was billed as America’s Foremost Sepia Singing Ecdysiast, a black woman in a profession dominated by whites. She counted among her friends, fighter Joe Louis and entertainer Sammy Davis Jr.
I enjoy watching her on stage. She is graceful, elegant and enchanting when she walks on stage and flashes her beautiful smile. She flirts with us and has an infectious laugh. Toni is one of the many women responsible for my career, life style, and legacy. Without her, I would be nothing.
Who are your biggest inspirations and why?
This would become an ongoing interview if I made an attempt to name all of the people who inspire me. I can say that I love the underdog, the ugly duckling, and the unconventional warriors of the world. I'm inspired by perseverance, vitality, spirituality, glamor, and persistence.
What advice would you give to a girl reading this interested in getting into this industry?
In my opinion, it's vital to know the history of any art form you're passionate about. Burlesque isn't just about walking on stage and asking the audience to look at your beautiful body, face, or your costume.
The word burlesque derives from the Italian word burlesco, which itself derives from the Italian burla – a joke, ridicule or mockery. People would go to a burlesque show to be entertained; to escape reality. Remember that burlesque is one of the oldest theatrical art forms. Your acts should be well thought out and you should think about pleasing your audience instead of yourself. Burlesque shouldn't be about vanity, or self-indulgence. Instead, you should be passionate about giving to the audience. Take your time to develop each act. Your act should tell a story or leave the audience in a trance. The audience should find themselves on an involuntary journey with you. Connection is key.
When will you be coming to the UK to perform?
I would love to come back to the UK. I'm currently working on a World tour for 2014 and the UK is a place I long to visit again. I'm looking for producers, sponsorship, and press opportunities abroad. I urge all of the producers in the UK to contact me regarding booking opportunities via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Perle Noire the Black Pearl
Photo by Tonya Armbruster